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Fears of instability in Uzbekistan as President Karimov suffers stroke

Stroke fells autocratic leader with whom Moscow has had a difficult relationship but whose brutal methods have kept his country stable.

Alexander Mercouris

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Confirmation that Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has been taken critically ill following a brain haemorrhage will be causing concern in Moscow.

Along with Kazakhstan’s leader Nursultan Nazarbayev Karimov is the last remaining leader of a former Soviet republic to have achieved power as his republic’s Communist Party First Secretary before becoming the republic’s President when the USSR fell apart.  He has exercised autocratic control over Uzbekistan ever since, being the only leader Uzbekistan has known since it became independent.

Karimov has run Uzbekistan with an iron fist, heading a regime notorious for its human rights abuses and its brutal treatment of internal dissidents.  These methods have been ruthlessly effective, with no evidence of any serious opposition to Karimov’s rule at the present time.

Though Uzbekistan is a poor country, it is rich in natural resources and with a population of 31 million is one of the biggest of the former Soviet republics.  It has also historically been the cultural centre of Central Asia, with cities like Samarkand and Bukhara famous for their monuments and history.  Its size, potential wealth and location at the heart of Central Asia make its stability critically important for Moscow.

Though Uzbekistan is a traditional centre of Sunni Muslim culture, Karimov has run Uzbekistan as a secular unitary republic, ruthlessly suppressing any manifestations of political Islam there.  In doing so he has claimed – and perhaps exaggerated – the threat of Al-Qaeda and of Islamist terrorism in his country.

Karimov has also pursued a relentless policy of Uzbek nationalism, seeking to distance the nation from Russia and denying a role for Tajik (once the most common language in towns like Samarkand) as a minority language.  One of his more striking reforms was to change the spelling of the Uzbek language from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet.  Notwithstanding this anti Russian policy Russian remains widely spoken and connections to Russia at an economic and social level remain close with many Uzbeks choosing to work in Russia as guest workers and some emigrating there.

In foreign policy Karimov has pursued an erratic course.  At times he has tilted towards the US, hosting a US military base and involving himself in anti-Russian regional groupings such as GUUAM (“Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova”).  However in 2005, after his brutal suppression of protests in the town of Andijan, which provoked protests from the US, Karimov appeared to switch alliances, tilting towards Russia and China.  The US base was closed and Uzbekistan essentially quit GUUAM, and is now a member of the Russian and Chinese led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation instead.

Karimov has never however fully committed to Russia and China.  Uzbekistan remains outside the Russian led Eurasian Union.  Though it briefly participated in the Russian led security organisation the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, it soon quit.  There have been persistent rumours that one reason Karimov has held aloof from these organisations is because of his feelings of jealousy towards Kazakhstan’s leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, whom Moscow tends to look on as its chief ally in the region.

The Russians will be watching the situation in Uzbekistan in light of Karimov’s illness closely.  Whilst for the moment the situation in Uzbekistan is stable, they will be concerned that it remain that way.  For the Russians instability in Central Asia leading to Jihadi groups led by Al-Qaeda getting a foothold there is a nightmare, and one which they will work to prevent at all costs.

Beyond that there is the question of Uzbekistan’s future course.  Karimov has dominated Uzbekistan so completely and for so long that it is difficult to imagine Uzbekistan without him or to guess what its course might be after he is gone.  This is made even more difficult by the fact that Karimov has no obvious successor.  The person who some – almost certainly wrongly – imagined Karimov might be grooming as is successor, his daughter Gulnara Karimova, suffered a dramatic loss of favour in 2014 and is now reported to be under arrest.

An iron rule of successions in autocratic dictatorships since the mid twentieth century is that they lead to a strong reaction against the person and policies of the dead leader after he is gone, with the successor, whoever he might be, trying to distinguish himself from the dead dictator by pursuing contrasting policies.

The nearest comparable situation which might give some clues to what may happen in Uzbekistan after Karimov is gone may be provided by the former Soviet Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan where until his still somewhat mysterious death in 2006 the Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov (“Turkmenbashi”) ran a regime in some respects similar though if possible even more repressive than Karimov’s.

Like Karimov Niyazov kept his distance from Russia, pursued a strongly nationalist domestic policy involving switching the spelling of the national language from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet, and kept Turkmenistan aloof from the various Russian led Eurasian institutions whilst pursuing a strongly independent foreign policy which at times seemed to tilt towards the US and the West. 

Niyazov’s successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, has since Niyazov’s death significantly softened the level of domestic repression in the country, and though he has still kept Turkmenistan outside the Russian led Eurasian institutions, he has nonetheless significantly improved relations with Russia.

Whether Uzbekistan follows a similar course to Turkmenistan remains to be seen.  Certainly the Russians will be watching the situation there closely.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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